Supreme Court announced its verdict on a plea by four convicts challenging death sentence in the Nirbhaya gang rape case. Photograph: (Reuters)
India's Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentences of four men convicted for the 2012 gang rape and murder of a Delhi student.
Justice Dipak Misra said the 23-year-old woman had suffered a "devastating hour of darkness" as the court rejected an appeal against the death penalty, which was handed down in 2013.
India's highest court while delivering the verdict said criminal conspiracy of the six men has been established, they made all efforts to made to destroy evidence which included running bus over the victim and her friend.
Victim's dying declaration is consistent, it has been proved beyond doubt and corroborated, the court declared.
Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, was raped and left for dead by a gang of five men and a teenager after she boarded a private bus while going home from the cinema with a male friend. She died of grievous internal injuries 13 days later.
Scientific evidence like DNA profiling of victim and the accused proves to the hilt about their presence at the crime spot, the court observed.
Four men were convicted in September 2013 for murder, gang rape, theft, conspiracy and "unnatural acts" after a seven-month trial in a fast-track court. A fifth man, the suspected ringleader, was found dead in jail in a suspected suicide, while the 17-year-old was sentenced to three years in a detention centre and has since been released.
Finally a JUST closure in #Nirbhaya's case.While the memory of the brutal gangrape is still fresh in our minds.— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) May 5, 2017
It has a stronger deterrence
The brutality of the attack, and her determination to survive long enough to identify her attackers to police, triggered large-scale angry street protests as well as soul-searching about India's treatment of women.
Sentencing the four in 2013, Judge Yogesh Khanna said the case fell into the "rarest of rare category" which justifies capital punishment in India. Media reports said a round of applause went up in court as the judgement was read out on Friday at the end of an appeal hearing that began last year.
(WION with Agency inputs)